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The Handshake That Changed the World

submitted by Bruce C.

I’ve been thinking a lot about energy lately, particularly its spiritual essence. I see and feel the healing energy in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, particularly with peer contact in recovery. “I know how you feel” creates the foundation of an energetic and emotional bond. It is an undeniable force.

My first sponsor, the “avowed atheist” told me that my addiction was as much a part of me as my blue eyes or my once-blond hair. It was part of my nature, and my natural state was to be drinking or using, thinking about it, or getting over it. For me to not drink and use was an unnatural act, and one that I couldn’t do on my own. Whether by support of the group, or faith in God, or whatever, it didn’t matter. For an addict, being clean and sober is a spiritual piece of business, regardless of the pathway. This sponsor and I may not have talked about God much, but he did a helluva job teaching me how not to drink, how to be clean and sober today, that “spiritual piece of business.”

We are beings of energy, the energy that keeps the nucleus and electrons in place, not in just our bodies but the entire universe— science now tells us we are composed of .00001% matter and 99.99999% energy.

We all know and feel the energetic essence of our soul. And the cumulative and healing energy of a recovery meeting, the collective experience of a group of addicts coming together so they may not take the first drug or drink today, the collective “spiritual piece of business we call sobriety,” is magic. It sometimes fills the meeting room with a feeling so thick it wraps us like a warm blanket.

Physicists know that energy is undeniable and indestructible. COVID taught us that very same lesson when the recovery community almost automatically pivoted to Zoom. There are people thriving in virtual recovery platforms who have never been to an in-person meeting.

The Spirit of recovery refuses to be denied. My “Zoom home group” has members throughout the country and the world.

Energy is powerful and can be unleashed in a moment. Whether it’s a gentle persuasive moment

of clarity when we hear that quiet voice inside us, begging for our attention, or the explosive energy of a group of people joining forces to create positive change.

The overwhelming energy of love, justice and self-sacrifice exemplified by Jesus on the cross, Buddha under the Bodhi tree, Gandhi on his march to the sea, Martin Luther King, Jr and his “I Have a Dream” speech were energy in moments of time that changed the world.

And in 1939 in the kitchen of Dr. Bob, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, a moment in time changed the world for alcoholics.

These simple words combined with an outstretched hand, “Hello, my name is Bill, and I am an alcoholic.” unleashed the irrepressible energy of recovery.

Thank God.

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